Earth Day, celebrated on April 22, brings the world together through hundreds of events, activities, and educational opportunities to focus on climate change and aware of its unprecedented threat to our planet.
In Houston, we have 18 Earth Day events from Wednesday, April 19 through Sunday, April 30 including the Earth Day Workday in Community Gardens, Adopt-a-Beach with the Nature Conservancy, the Houston Zoo Family Nature Club, and the Earth Day on the Avenida in Discovery Green. Click here for a complete calendar.
The idea for a national day to focus on the environment came to Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson, then a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, after witnessing the ravages of the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California.
On April 22,1970, 20 million Americans took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive coast-to-coast rallies. Groups that had been fighting against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife suddenly realized they shared common values.
Earth Day 1970 achieved a rare political alignment, enlisting support from Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor, city slickers and farmers, tycoons and labor leaders. By the end of that year, the first Earth Day had led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts.
As 1990 approached, a group of environmental leaders asked Denis Hayes, an environmental advocate and coordinator of the 1970 Earth Day, to organize another big campaign. This time, Earth Day went global, mobilizing 200 million people in 141 countries and lifting environmental issues onto the world stage. Earth Day 1990 gave a huge boost to recycling efforts worldwide and helped pave the way for the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.
Earth Day Today
With 5,000 environmental groups in a record 184 countries reaching out to hundreds of millions of people, Earth Day 2000 used the power of the Internet to organize activists. Hundreds of thousands of people gathered on the National Mall in Washington, DC for a First Amendment Rally. Earth Day 2000 sent world leaders the loud and clear message that citizens around the world wanted quick and decisive action on global warming and clean energy.
In 2010, Earth Day Network brought 250,000 people to the National Mall for a Climate Rally, launched the world’s largest environmental service project—A Billion Acts of Green®–introduced a global tree planting initiative that has since grown into The Canopy Project, and engaged 22,000 partners in 192 countries in observing Earth Day.
Earth Day had reached its current status as the largest secular observance in the world, celebrated by more than a billion people every year, and a day of action that changes human behavior and provokes policy changes.
Dean and Draper
We hope that participating in an Earth Day event will be part of your plans for next weekend. To see the schedule for events in Houston, click here.
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